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Government: ‘Universities stay open as long as possible in new corona wave’

Hoger Onderwijs Persbureau,
15 juni 2022 - 11:50

If the coronavirus flares up again, the cabinet wants to keep education open as long as possible. Only when pupils, students and staff are in immediate danger will the gates be closed again.

Education is ‘at the bottom of the pile’ if the government needs to take new measures against the coronavirus, the Ministers of Health, Economic Affairs and Social Affairs wrote to the Lower House today. The same goes for child care. The government speaks of ‘a (partial) closure’ of education if there is really no other option, but the ministers want to prevent such a closure at all times, they state in the letter.

‘We have seen that the mental health of young people has been under pressure during the crisis because of the loss of social contacts and activities’

Mental health
The starting point of the corona policy, according to the cabinet, is an open society. The various sectors must then cooperate with this, for example with good ventilation, walking routes and splash screens. In this regard, the cabinet emphasizes the importance of young people. ‘We have seen that the mental health of young people has been under pressure during the crisis because of the loss of social contacts and activities, for example in education, sports and culture.’

Self-tests will remain available free of charge in education until the Christmas vacations, ‘unless it is decided earlier that it is no longer necessary’. In that case the distribution of the tests will stop after the autumn break.

Higher education and healthcare institutions must work together to train more healthcare personnel to deal with any new wave. For example, the Cabinet wants to have special dual pathways (working and learning) developed for third- and fourth-year students of intermediate and higher vocational nursing. This year, eight hundred students could also start a short course in ‘basic acute care’. Healthcare institutions will receive a 25 thousand euro for each student who completes the course.


Won’t healthcare institutions get too busy supervising trainees? Maybe so, and that is why they have to come up with ‘innovative forms of internship supervision’ so that they can supervise more healthcare students with less pressure on the healthcare itself. Furthermore, there will be special in-service training for operating room assistants and nurse anesthetists to obtain a nursing degree. This will also offer these staff members more prospects in their careers, the cabinet believes.

Waiting students
Finally, the cabinet wants to deploy ‘wait-time medical students’ during a corona wave. These are students who are on the waiting list for clerkships. They must also benefit: they must have a say in this work and be able to contribute their own wishes.

It is likely that in the near future we will be faced with a resurgence of the virus, despite the fact that with summer approaching and the absence of restrictive measures this may be difficult for many people to imagine now, states the final paragraph. It is important that we now, in the relative calm that the epidemic is giving us, put maximum effort into prevention and prepare for more serious scenarios.